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Bashful IBM takes orders for Opteron blade server

Reg outs the LS20

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IBM's long-awaited Opteron-based blade server has quietly gone up for sale on the company's web site.

Back when the dual-core Opteron chip shipped in April, IBM promised to deliver an Opteron blade sometime this quarter. It, however, has yet to formally announce the system to the public. But the secret is out after The Register found the LS20 in IBM's online store.

The system starts at $2,259 with a standard 2.0GHz Opteron chip and 1GB of memory. A blade with the low power 2.6GHz Opteron and 2GB of memory starts at $3,449. In total, IBM has four models of the LS20 available.

IBM's web site says the boxes will ship "within 2 weeks," although it is notorious about taking a long time to get to volume shipments. So be patient.

Up to 84 of the LS20s can fit in a standard rack. IBM's BladeCenter chassis "supports lower power versions of all these full performance Opteron processors. These 68W processors draw nearly 1/3 less power than the standard 95W AMD offering."

Customers can plug in up to 8GB of memory on each blade and use either 36GB or 73GB Ultra320 SCSI drives. IBM will support Red Hat, SuSE and Windows Server 2003 operating systems on the box.

The LS20 is quite the controversial system. IBM is rumored to have held up production on an Opteron blade due to its tight relationship with Intel. Now, with the LS20 and a new workstation, IBM will have three Opteron systems and serious Xeon competition.

HP sells the widest variety of Opteron kit ranging from workstations to blade, two-processor and four-processor servers. Sun Microsystems also has a number of Opteron boxes but has yet to release a blade. Dell is pretending Opteron doesn't exist. ®

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